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  • Formula One boss Ecclestone denies bribery at German trial

    Formula One chief executive Ecclestone arrives at court in MunichBy Keith Weir and Jörn Poltz MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone denied bribery charges on Thursday at the start of a trial in Germany that threatens to break his decades-long dominance of motor racing. Prosecutors accuse the 83-year-old Briton of bribing banker Gerhard Gribkowsky by channeling $44 million to him in return for smoothing the sale of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC eight years ago. They say that Ecclestone favored CVC as the new owner because it was committed to keeping him on as chief executive of the business. "Gribkowsky did not tell the truth at crucial points," Ecclestone told the court in a 100-page statement read out in German on his behalf by his lawyer Sven Thomas.




  • Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany

    Canadian F1 Grand Prix - RaceBy Keith Weir MUNICH (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone goes on trial for bribery in Germany on Thursday in a case that could see the Briton's long dominance of the motor sport ended by a jail sentence. Prosecutors in Munich have charged Ecclestone, 83, with bribing jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale eight years ago of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC. Ecclestone, a former used car salesman who became a billionaire by building the sport into a global money spinner over the past four decades, denies wrongdoing and says he will fight to clear his name. CVC remains the largest shareholder in Formula One, a business that generates annual revenues of over $1.5 billion from its series of grand prix races held around the world.




  • Car crashes into Florida church during Easter service
    A car crashed into a Fort Myers, Florida, church filled with 200 people attending the Easter Sunday service, injuring at least 18, police said. Worshipers at the Second Haitian Baptist Church used car jacks on Sunday night to lift the vehicle and pull several people trapped underneath before police arrived, a statement from the Fort Myers police said. "At this point the investigation is being treated as a very unfortunate accident rather than a criminal act," Lieutenant Victor Medico, a spokesman for the Fort Myers Police, said in a statement. The driver was questioned by police and allowed to leave, although "civil traffic violations may be forthcoming," Medico said in an e-mail.

  • In the driving seat: China's yuppies are new market force for global automakers

    A model poses beside a Ford Ecosport during a media presentation of the 34th Bangkok International Motor Show in BangkokBy Samuel Shen and Norihiko Shirouzu SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Global automakers are scrambling to meet the demands of China's young urban professionals, who want a car that makes them stand out, yet don't always have the money to splurge on a top-end model. After nearly two decades of frenzied growth driven mainly by the very wealthy, China's auto market is maturing, yet remains ferociously competitive with manufacturers having to react quickly to shifting consumer trends. People like Zhou Wenxi, a 32-year-old Shanghai cram-school owner, and Guo Yetao, 23, a software salesman from Hangzhou, are fuelling two trends: hot demand for smaller crossover sport utility vehicles like Ford Motor Co's EcoSport; There is a potential "seismic shift" in the influence these young urban professionals will have on China's auto market, says Yale Zhang, head of Automotive Foresight, a Shanghai-based consultant.




  • Premium car brands eye China's secondhand market

    Visitors look at an Audi S8 car at Auto China 2014 in BeijingBy Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz BEIJING (Reuters) - Strong demand for new automobiles in China has laid the foundations for the next leg of business for carmakers BMW , Audi and Mercedes-Benz: the second-hand premium car market. China's auto market is the world's biggest and is set to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, fuelled by increasingly affluent buyers, who use them for the daily commute, with some opting for luxury brands as a status symbol. We have 290 dealers who offer certified pre-owned Audis," Rupert Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen's premium brand, Audi, said during the Auto China show in Beijing. "In China, we have some dealers that sell between 1,500 and 3,000 cars." Audi, which expects China to contribute 40 percent of its sales by 2020, plans to train 40,000 to 50,000 new sales staff a year by 2017 to meet growing demand for brand-new and used cars, he said.




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